Ceferin calls for calm as stakeholder debate over Champions League reform intensifies

May 9 – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has issued a call for all relevant stakeholders not to jump to conclusions amid ongoing heated debate over proposed radical changes to the Champions League post-2024.

With the umbrella bodies for Europe’s clubs and leagues at loggerheads of how the future of Europe’s club competitions should look, Ceferin insists no decisions have yet been reached.

Ceferin and members of his inner circle met Wednesday with European League representatives and issued a statement thereafter insisting UEFA was going about negotiations in the right way.

“When the Champions League was last changed in 2016, UEFA was criticised for not holding discussions with its stakeholders,” said Ceferin. ”When I became President shortly afterwards, I insisted that any future changes should be subject to consultation and today’s meeting is further evidence of that.

“What is important to remember, is that, despite a lot of talk in the media, no decisions have been made. At the moment we have only ideas and opinions.

“It is also important to recognise that UEFA is the only body that has responsibility to the game across Europe.  UEFA competitions are the only source of redistribution between big and small countries in a landscape that is polarising, with solidarity payments of €240 million from the Champions League being made to clubs right across our 55 member associations.  We will use this process to design our competitions to protect and develop European football.”

While the leagues want qualifying for Champions League spots to continue to be decided solely by domestic placings the European Clubs Association wants more matches between elite clubs in what would be the most widescale shake-up for a generation.

“Other organisations have very different constituencies and interests to protect,” said Ceferin. “Our aim is to find a solution that reflects the changes in the game, preserves the position of UEFA’s competitions as the most attractive and exciting in the world, while providing significant solidarity funding across European football.

“We will not be deflected from that task and we remain committed to continue dialogue with our stakeholders. The next meeting of which will be with our national associations next week.”

Despite his comments, European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson told reporters that UEFA were including promotion and relegation, plus places for more teams, in its future vision for the Champions League and other club competitions – exactly what the leagues oppose.

“There are ideas about promotion and relegation. It’s a different system to the one we have today,” Olsson said at UEFA headquarters. “The total picture is that there would be more clubs involved.”

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